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We're getting wildly varying costs for installing Hardiplank siding on our house. We're in the inland area of San Diego county where fires are common and want to replace the 25 year old cracked and worn cedar totem & panel siding. We bought the house as a foreclosure and it had been severely neglected the last few years. Our house needs about 3800 sf ft, mostly one story but there is a 2 story A frame section in the middle that is ~30 ft up at the apex.

I've seen forums online that seem to show that installation costs with materials should be around $8-10/sq ft. The quotes we are getting are all over the map.

We have a GC/beekeeper who has done some bee removal from the house (80 lb of hive in the fireplace when we bought the place). He's done work on our house and we've been happy with his work. He's done his house in Hardi, so he knows what's involved. He said $10k + materials to remove all old siding, replace vapor barrier, put up sheathing, siding, and trim (may not include haul away of old material, but a couple of dumpsters should be ~$1000). Hardiplank is about $1/sq ft, so figuring ~$3/sq ft for all material costs. That puts him at about $6/sq ft.

We had also got two bids back from other contractors. Home Depot came in at $60k, or ~$16/sq ft, which we thought was way overpriced. Another contractor, referred to by a painter we've used, came in at $45k + materials, or ~$12/sq ft. Neither of these contractors gave us a good feeling.

We're waiting for 2 more bids, and hoping they will be closer to the middle ground. Our GC actually seems the best qualified, but we are a little concerned that he's significantly less than the bids we've received so far.

Any thoughts on why bids should be significantly different? What should we be expecting the costs to be (either labor or labor + materials)? Should we be concerned our GC is significantly less?

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Framing Contractor
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A beekeeper gave you the lowest price and you are wondering why? So he did one house, his own, in Hardi and that makes him qualified? If you get three prices and one is ridiculously low, it doesn't usually mean the others are too high.
 

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A beekeeper gave you the lowest price and you are wondering why? So he did one house, his own, in Hardi and that makes him qualified? If you get three prices and one is ridiculously low, it doesn't usually mean the others are too high.
The low bid GC has done some repair work to the existing siding while removing bees from our house, and has done a good job. He's at least done his house and understands what is involved in installing Hardi.

Home Depot we've only talked to the salesman, and who knows who they will choose to do the actual work, or if they've ever done Hardi.

The other bid is from a remodeling center that has been in business for 3 years. They have 3 divisions: windows, cabinets, and kitchen/bath remodels. When asked what experience they have with siding, he said "I used be a foreman for one of the major home builders", but no examples of work he or their company has actually done with Hardi. He wasn't including shear panel install but rather installing Hardi directly to the studs (on top of vapor barrier).

Guess I'm looking for others experience with Hardi install and what it cost to install. The low cost seems the most experienced, but seems lower than what other install cost information I've gathered in forums.
 

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Forget about big box estimates and their contractors. Get estimates from legitimate companies thay are experienced in the product you're using.
You need to be careful of contractors who underbid much more then the rest.
 

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It's not unusual to get bids that vary wildly and there are a number of factors that contribute to that which have nothing to do with quality or qualifications. The cost structure of different outfits can be at ends of the spectrum based on a variety of factors such as size of average project, availability, etc.

And I would not write off the beekeeper out of hand. I know some handymen who are excellent, knowledgeable craftsmen. Why is he so inexpensive? Well for starters, he has NO cost structure. If he did a good job on his house, that should be one point in his favor.

Before I hire any professional for anything at all I always ask them for three references for work that is substantially if not specifically the same as what I'm looking at them for. I would say that at least 30% of the time I end up changing my initial vendor selection after talking to references.

Installing Hardy board is not rocket science. If someone has decent experience siding a house and has half a brain they should be able to figure it out. Of course experience helps and all other things being equal I would favor the one who has it. Add to that saving tens of thousands of bucks and I would give that beekeeper a good long look. Learn how it should be done yourself, be your own project manager/inspector, talk to him about those details, and pay him only for work performed, not in advance.
 

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The low bid GC has done some repair work to the existing siding while removing bees from our house, and has done a good job. He's at least done his house and understands what is involved in installing Hardi.

Home Depot we've only talked to the salesman, and who knows who they will choose to do the actual work, or if they've ever done Hardi.

The other bid is from a remodeling center that has been in business for 3 years. They have 3 divisions: windows, cabinets, and kitchen/bath remodels. When asked what experience they have with siding, he said "I used be a foreman for one of the major home builders", but no examples of work he or their company has actually done with Hardi. He wasn't including shear panel install but rather installing Hardi directly to the studs (on top of vapor barrier).

Guess I'm looking for others experience with Hardi install and what it cost to install. The low cost seems the most experienced, but seems lower than what other install cost information I've gathered in forums.
So you got one bid from a beekeeper who did his house, one bid from Home Depot and one bid from a remodeling store.
How about getting a bid from a siding contractor???? :whistling2: :yes: :wink:
 

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Mike,
When I was looking for a qualified installer in my area, I went on the Jame's Hardie web site and they have a search tool to provide a list of qualified installers based on your area/zip. If you were in Canada, you would have to go on the JH .ca site. I got an estimate from one and he told me that JH spot checks his installations.
GG
 
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